First Flight: Necessities & What you should know



If you were to ask me what my BIGGEST fear was, I would probably say Sharks or Flying on a plane. It's not that I don't think flying is cool, its that I have an over active imagination and always imagine the worst when it comes to flying.....I always thought that the plain might crash, but as my brother would say "more people get into car crashes than they do plane crashes" and he would be right. Every day people use flight as a means of travel, its brilliant and efficient and helps us see different parts of the country or world! 
I am 22 years old and I had never been on a plane until my recent trip to NY. That was one of the MAJOR things I was faced with in planning this NY trip was realizing I would have to go on a plane for the first time. I tried to just forget about the whole "flight" thing until it was closer to my trip, so a few weeks ago it hit me. 
Now, flying for the first time isn't only intimidating and a bit nerve wracking because you will be launched into the sky and soaring thousands of miles above land at hundreds of miles per her, but it also means figuring out an airport and manuvering through checked luggage, security, and the airport proticals.....that can be where it gets stressful! 
With that being said, I am a PLANNER......it's part of my personality as an Introvert and also an INFJ that I am not spontaneous and like to know a plan or at least a good bit of details before ever going somewhere or doing something. Therefore, while booking and planning for my first flight was easy peasy at first, flights rarely run on time and travel by air doesn't always go according to plan, especially when you travel in the winter (and a snow storm and blizzard threaten your plans). Thus, even when plans don't go according to how you worked them out, being VERY prepared up front helps you to be flexible without to much stress when you have to change what you are doing.
To make a long story short, the day before we were scheduled to leave for NY a "bomb cyclone" snow storm blew into the east coast and New York and as a result our flight go canceled. This put me into "Re-Planning" mode as I was figuring out the new status of our flight and working to change not only our flight out, but our itenerary as well. With that, we ended up leaving Friday, a day later than we had anticipated. 
However, despite the change of plans and bumps in the road (or runway) I learned a LOT about the necessities for flying, how to figure out the airport, and rationally handling my first flight. So weather you are like me and a bit uneasy when it comes to flying (or have never flown) or still have trouble when it comes to traveling by air, I thought I would share some of the things I have learned.

What I Learned, Necessities, & Tips: 

1) Learn as much as you can beforehand in regards to what you should expect at the airport. Familiarize yourself with the steps to take once you arrive, where to go for bag check, what terminal your gate is in, and where that gate is located in the airport. Flying blind is never good, so answering some of your questions up front HELPS SO MUCH!

2) I even went so far as to watch a few videos on what to do when you get to the airport that really helped. Some of my favorites:

First Time Flyers Guide
How to Go Through Airport TSA 
10 Airport and Flight Tips 

3) PACKING: Make sure you know the size and weight limit for your airline. I opted to get a smaller suitcase so that I would be forced to pack less and thus be in the proper weight limit...I'm so glad I made that choice:) Also, check to see if you are allowed carry on. If you are I would suggest trying to pack carry on and take a personal item on a flight rather than doing checked luggage. We unfortunately had "basic economy" tickets and didn't get that option.
Also, invest in a luggage scale (you can find them on amazon) so you know your luggage weight before you get to the airport. This will help you if you choose to check in online or on the app beforehand.

4) Download the app for your airline. With the app you have access to your reservation, updated schedules, change of flight, airport maps, you can check in on it, and have access to digital boarding passes. It will save you!

5) Don't overthink it.....it's not that big of a deal, so if you don't dwell upon it your mind will be calmer.

6) Pack the essentials in your carry on or in your personal item (I took a backpack). For me this included things to do on the flight as well as my "emergency kit" with things I might need:

  • Book
  • Headphones
  • iPod/Phone with music (I like to listen to instramental soundtracks or my personal playlist to keep my mind calm and occupied)
  • Take a snack (buy it at the airport)
  • Portable power recharge dock for your phone with lightning cord. 
  • Bring water (take an empty bottle through security or buy one at the airport)
  • Dramamine (just in case) 
  • Altoids (these things are lifesavers if you feel nauteous) 
  • Neck pillow or item of clothing from your carry on to use. 
  • Download movies and shows on Netflix 
  • Aleve (or some type of tylenol)

7) CALM YOURSELF!!!! Everyone has their own way of preventing stress, but for me personally I utilized my essential oils on my first flight and I have to say that it made a world of difference. I am a person VERY prone to extreme cases of nervousness at new and uncertain situations, but I never really felt nervous or anxious on my flight and I think it was due to the Young Living Essential oils I used:
  • Stress Away (back of my neck and wrists)
  • Peace and Calm (back of neck and wrists)
  • Kidease 
  • Lavendar (helps with motion sickness)
  • Peppermint (always have on hand if I feel nautaous)
8) Have your ID accessible and on you at ALL TIMES! You will need it to drop off your luggage, go through security, and sometimes to get through your gate.

9) Once you get to the airport you will go and check in (unless you already checked in online), weigh and pay or your luggage (if it isn't included in your ticket), drop your luggage off, and move to security. 

10) Tips for Security: When I was preparing for my trip I had a number of people give me tips for security that helped in being prepared:
  • Wear slip on shoes (you will most likely have to take them off to go through security). I wore my Joules wellies. 
  • Wear pants that don't require a belt (I wore leggings with an oversized sweater)
  • Pack any carry on liquids using the 3-1-1 --> 3 oz bottles in 1, 1 quart clear bag (this has to be removed at security)
  • Grab 1-2 bins for your items for security 
  • All electronics (laptops, tablets, etc. mus be placed in their own bin.....cameras are fine to stay) 
  • Make sure you have reviewed your airlines policies for what is allowed in a carry on bag. 

My experience (taking off and landing ):

Okay, so to say I was nervous would be true (though not as nervous as I had first thought I would be). When we got to the airport, because of our departure flight time, there was hardly anyone there so we were able to go through all the steps super fast. Throughout our bag check, drop off, and security I was thrilled with how nice everyone was (I know that sometimes that isn't the case), but because of that, it helped my first time flight experience be more enjoyable. We made sure to arrive at the airport a good two hours before our flight was scheduled to leave and I would definitely recommend you give yourself plenty of time to go through the bag and security procedures, especially if the airport is busy.

I always thought that going through security would be harder and more confusing that it was, but thankfully because we knew what to expect going in we went through safely and smoothly.
Now, comes the actual flying part:) I think the one thing that helped me with the actual "flying" was listening to music! As soon as we boarded the plane I put on my instrumental movie soundtracks to keeps my mind occupied and that helped so much especially when it was time for takeoff.

So takeoff.......you know in space movies when they are in the rocket ship, buckled up and they count off, 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. and then presto.....they are being launched into the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour and feeling all the force of takeoff?!?!?!?

Okay, so takeoff isn't really as forceful and fast and crazy as astronauts in a rocket ship, but I kind of felt a bit like an astronaut when we took off because you could feel a bit of the force of how fast you were going and takeoff and ascent into the sky is very loud at first. However, once we reached our proper altitude we leveled off and the ride was fairly smooth. I have to admit that I didn't think I would like flying at all and I told myself I wouldn't look out the window, but once we were up in the air I couldn't help looking out at the cities we past....plus we were flying at night so it was so cool to see all the lights down below.

Now, the ride was great for the most part, hardly scary, and not to bumpy......that is until we hit some wind pockets (because remember there had just had a winter snow storm) and we experienced a bit of turbulence. The turbulence in the air wasn't really that bad until we reached New York and had to circle getting ready to land......that is when it started to feel like I was on a roller coaster (and I hate roller coasters) because we were being pushed up and down by the wind.....my stomach definitely felt the angled drops......but all the while I never really freaked out (thinking I was going to die or anything). However, it is very reassuring when you hit a bit of turbulence because the Pilot comes on air and warns you ahead of time or during it, so you know it is just part of flying.

Now, the worst part of my flight was definitely the landing!!! The airport we were flying into in New Jersey had a shorter runway and the Pilot told us to be prepared for an abrupt stop......and let me tell you it was abrupt! If we hadn't been warned I probably would have through we were crashing, but once we taxied out of our landing I knew I had safely survived my first flight and actually quite liked it (despite the rollar coasters).

Flying back to Texas was 100% better because we had no windy weather and landing was a breeze. We also flew back in the daytime and the view out the window of the patchwork land below was so picturesque and our flight above the layer of fluffy white clouds was sureal and so beautiful.....I will have to admit that I LOVE flying now!

I'm still a bit nervous about the whole idea, but the process of flying thousands of miles above the ground and seeing life from a birds eye view is crazy amazing! Not to mention it gets you places that would take you days driving but just hours flying.....travel here I come!

Have you flown?
Are (or were) you apprehensive of flying like me
How has your flight experience been?

-Madison 

No comments